1 April 2016

Will Books 1800-1952

Archives in a particular region usually hold wills or probate records for many people who lived or died in other regions. That's why I deliberately chose not to mention a location in the title of this post.

I've found an amazing amount of information about people in other States and even other countries in NSW Will Books 1800-1952. Countries mentioned include England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South Africa, Germany, Fiji, Mexico, India, Holland, China, Papua, New Guinea, etc.

The original books are held by State Records New South Wales. Before 1924 they contain handwritten copies of the wills. Between 1924 and 1952 the copies were typed.

Images of the Will Books are on FindMyPast. Searches are free (you only pay if you want to see an image or transcription). My search tips are shown below. Start with strategy no.1, then try no.2, and so on.
Search screen for NSW Will Books 1800-1952
  1. Search for a name in 'Who' (you can use asterisks as wildcards). 'Death year' is optional, and you can select 'give or take' (+/-) up to 40 years. For now, ignore the 'Residence' field.

  2. In the separate field called Heirs' or executors' last name, enter a surname (you can use asterisks as wildcards), but leave both of the Who fields empty.

  3. If you use the Residence field, use wildcards. You'll understand why if you search for *Brisbane*, with asterisks before and after, and note the residences shown in results! Data in the Residence field is not entered in any set format. It may be just a town, or just a State, or just a country, or town+State, or State+country, etc (with or without punctuation, which makes a difference to the results). Sometimes places are abbreviated (eg, Queensland / Qld).

  4. Experiment with other variations and combinations. Keep a list of the search criteria that you use, because you may later think of other ways to search.

  5. When you use the Heirs' or Executors' Last Name field, be aware that the results may be incomplete. For example, you won't find heirs and executors of Julia COUTTS because (although they are shown in her Will Book entry) the names have not been included in the transcription. Presumably you could add them to the database by clicking 'Report an error in this transcription' and entering the names in the appropriate fields.

  6. It is essential to view images of the original Will Books, because a 'transcription' does not include the will itself.

  7. Click 'Learn' above the search boxes to find out more about the collection.

Although only a few of my ancestors were in New South Wales, I've already found fifteen wills - and that's just from random searches 'off the top of my head'. Imagine what I might achieve if I get organised and do systematic searches in Will Books 1800-1952!

(This post first appeared on http://uk-australia.blogspot.com/2016/04/will-books-1800-1952.html.)

25 February 2016

Why I Use and Recommend FindMyPast

I am a big fan of FindMyPast for genealogy research. For records that are also on other sites, FindMyPast's indexes and transcriptions are (in my experience) more accurate (and this is particularly obvious with British censuses). Searches are free.

FindMyPast includes an especially good collection of Queensland records, and I have also been using their British census records and parish registers for many years. Recently I made exciting discoveries in NSW will books 1800-1952 (which include information about many non-NSW people), passenger lists, Royal Household records, the 1939 Register, East India Company and civil service pensions, and non-conformist baptisms, marriages and burials. For example, UK outwards passenger lists showed that between one British census and the next, some of my families went to South Africa and Canada and then returned to England.

Recent improvements and enhancements at FindMyPast include:
  • A 12-month World or Britain subscription now includes unlimited free access to the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This is similar in some ways to a census, but it shows exact birth dates, and name changes after marriage, by deed poll, etc.

  • The British Newspaper Archive is available within FindMyPast.

  • New record sets are added almost every week. Check the full list of record sets worldwide plus last Friday's additions.

  • There are many ways to search. For example: 'Search All' is good for people with connections to more than one country, or for one-name studies.  'Category search' lets you search multiple datasets of a similar type (such as all census years).  'A-Z' lets you select a single dataset and search it with more powerful filtering options (and I recommend doing this).

  • Links marked 'Learn more' and 'Discover more' lead to helpful information about the original records.

  • When the general public is allowed several days of free access, FindMyPast adds the same number of free days to existing 12-month World subscriptions.

  • You can now attach records to your online family tree, which can be created by importing a GEDCOM file or by entering data manually.

  • Findmpast has partnered with BillionGraves to add more than 12 million grave marker (headstone) indexes (with more to follow).

  • Findmypast offers DNA testing services for genealogy (through FamilyTreeDNA, a reputable company that is probably the best one to use if you have British ancestry).

  • Article about the 1939 Register (England and Wales).

  • 'Top tips for overcoming 'brick walls' in family history'.

  • 'Hard to read records'.

  • Records from Origins.net are being added to FindMyPast. That includes the National Wills Index with pre-1857 probate material for England and Wales. FindMyPast will be the largest online resource for UK wills and probate (and those records include data for people from other countries including Australia). The collection includes (to name just a few) Queensland intestacies and wills (from Government Gazette notices); Bank of England wills extracts 1717-1845; British India Office wills and probate; London probate index; Suffolk testator index 1847-1857; Great Western Railway shareholders; index to death duty registers 1796-1903; index of Irish wills 1484-1858. To narrow your search in the 'wills and probate' collection, click 'Browse record set' then select the one(s) you want.

Searches on FindMyPast are free. You only need pay-as-you-go credits or a subscription to see transcriptions/images of original records. Always view images if available (they have details not shown in transcriptions).

If you are not sure whether FindMyPast will suit you, use the 14-day free trial (un-tick 'Auto-renew' in MyAccount after you register) or get a one month subscription. A 12 month subscription is the best value (and there is a 10% loyalty discount for renewing it), but some people find the one month option more convenient. It is available for the World collection and for each of FindMyPast's regional collections (Australia/NZ; Britain; Ireland; USA).

If you have no Australian research but need access to UK records, sign up via findmypast.co.uk.

Check out FindMyPast's full list of record sets. They include many unusual sources that are superb for overcoming dead ends in family history!

When FindMyPast has discount offers and 'free access' days (several times per year), they are usually listed on Genealogy Discounts and Freebies.

31 January 2016

CuriousFox (gazetteer and genealogy message system)

Logo on www.curiousfox.com
CuriousFox is a gazetteer and message system that connects genealogists and local historians. Collaboration between these two groups is immensely beneficial.

In CuriousFox, every town and village in the United Kingdom and Ireland has its own page. There is also a USA version, which I have not personally used.

Things I like about CuriousFox include:
  • Exact map locations and historic maps.
  • Free to join, add entries, and search by village or surname.
  • With surname searches, finding relevant entries is easier because you can work at town / village level.
  • You can search for 'nearby' entries.
  • It is easy to edit or delete your entries.
  • Google searches will find your entries (so 'new relatives' can contact you).
  • No spam (your email address is not visible).
  • Privacy (the system sends messages between members, and you decide whether to give a particular member your address).
  • Advantages of being a paying member (about five pounds per year) include:
    • Contact and be contacted by all other members (free or paying).
    • Receive email alerts when people add entries for towns of interest to you.
    • Publicise your Web page or blog.

Entry screen for my ASHTON message
  • Give some thought to the wording of your entries. They should be concise, with surnames (and only surnames) in capital letters. Specify dates, and use appropriate punctuation.

  • For large towns with many entries and multiple pages, delete your entry every year and immediately resubmit it (updated if necessary) so that it reappears near the top of the list for that town. I did this recently, and within 24 hours a local historian contacted me and offered to send transcriptions of land records for that surname/town!

I hope you will try Curious Fox and share your success stories in a comment here.

(This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared on http://uk-australia.blogspot.com/2010/08/curiousfox-follow-friday.html for 'Follow Friday', a theme used by Geneabloggers. I also published it on http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/08/curiousfox-gazetteer-and-message-system.html.)

1 December 2015

Postems on FreeBMD (England and Wales)

This is an updated version of a post that I originally published here in August 2010. It is also one of my contributions to 'Worldwide Genealogy: a Genealogical Collaboration'.
FreeBMD is an ongoing project to transcribe civil registration indexes of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to those transcribed indexes. FreeBMD is an immensely useful site, and I like it even more since it produced the unexpected bonus of contact with new relatives via 'postems'.

An excellent feature of FreeBMD (but one that is overlooked by many genealogists) is the ability to add a short message (250 characters maximum) called a postem to any entry in the FreeBMD database.

The postem can tell people how to contact you - or if you buy a certificate that turns out to be for the wrong person, you can help other researchers by putting details from the certificate in a postem.

Here is a step-by-step example of how I used a postem.

I searched FreeBMD for the birth registration of Bertha OAKLEY, who (according to census records) was apparently born in 1895 in County Durham. This is the search screen.

The search result looked like this.

I clicked the 'Info' icon and added a postem with my contact details.

When someone adds a postem, an envelope icon appears beside the entry, as shown below. You click the icon to read the postem.

To my delight, a distant relative contacted me as a result of my postem! She had information about Bertha OAKLEY's grandfather, Benjamin PEACOCK, who was a brother of my great-grandmother, Mary HUDSON nee PEACOCK.

This was just one of several similar successes that I've had with FreeBMD. I now always add a postem for each index entry that is (or could be) for my family... and I need to go back and add some that I didn't do originally.

I also use the 'search postems' feature to quickly check whether anyone else has added one that may be relevant to me. Here is an example of a search...

...and the search result, showing two postems that fit the criteria.

If you have used FreeBMD to find births, marriages and deaths for your family, I urge you to:
  1. Go back and add postems to all of those entries.
  2. Include an email address that will be valid long-term, such as a free Gmail address from Google.
  3. Check the text carefully before you click 'create', because postems cannot be changed or deleted.
  4. Before you start, read the Postems Help page.

Have you benefited from using postems on FreeBMD, or used them in different ways?

24 November 2015

10 Tips for Wills, Intestacies and Probate

Cover of a probate file (Queensland)
52 Weeks of Genealogical Records: Week 3 (Wills, Intestacies and Probate)

These tips demonstrate why I recommend that you look for wills for every person in your family tree.

Probate records, wills, intestacies, administrations and related documents are vitally important for family history. They provide clues for further research, and they 'put flesh on the bones' as we research our ancestors. They often have relationship details that prove whether we are researching the correct person or someone else with the same name.

Tip 1.  Use indexes for other States and countries.  There may be copies of a will or related documents in multiple places, including record offices far away from where the person died.  Examples:
  • Magdalene NIELSON:  Formerly of Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, but late of New York, USA; wife of Peter NIELSON (formerly of Bundaberg but at present of Copenhagen, Denmark). The Supreme Court file at Queensland State Archives includes Magdalene's death certificate from America (giving her age, marital status, occupation, birthplace, how long in USA, how long in New York City, names and birthplaces of her father and mother, her place and cause of death, and class of dwelling); and a transit permit for her body to go to Germany, stating the exact burial place there.

  • Ellis READ:  He owned land at Burketown, Queensland, Australia; and when it was sold, a grant of probate was required so that a certificate of title could be issued. His Supreme Court file at Queensland State Archives shows that he lived in Mexico from 1882 to 1890; and between 1887 and 1890 he make business trips to England and lived there for a few months at a time. He died in Mexico in 1890. An affidavit gives a translation of details from his death certificate (age, cause of death, burial place, native place, occupation, wife's maiden name, father's name, mother's maiden name).

  • Julia WEBSTER (my great-great-grandmother):  Probate was granted in New South Wales, and I found her will in New South Wales will books 1800-1952; but there are also documents at the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) because Julia had property in both States. She lived in NSW but was entitled to a share of the estate of her late brother, Malcolm John CAMPBELL, in Victoria. (The PROV files include extra documents, and I was able to download digital copies free of charge.)

  • Some of the other tips below give more examples of finding information in records of another State or country.

Tip 2:  Probate files may include birth, death and marriage certificates.  The death certificate in a probate file is usually more accurate than a typed certificate that was issued later, and sometimes it has extra or significantly different details (examples are in Free Certificates in Archives Files.) Probate files often contain certificates that would otherwise be restricted and/or expensive!
  • Some probate files contain birth, baptism, marriage or death certificates because beneficiaries had to prove their relationship to the deceased.

  • From about the mid-1890s onwards, most Queensland Supreme Court probate files (and some intestacy files) contain a death certificate. The majority of these files are at Qld State Archives and have no access restrictions, so you can see very recent certificates. Photocopies cost about $1 per page, but if you take digital photos or copy from microfilm to a USB drive, there is no charge. It is worthwhile looking for files for your direct ancestors, their siblings and other relatives.

Tip 3:  Some wills are only in land title records.  If a person died without a will, his/her relatives would need to prove their relationship before the deceased's land could be transferred to them. The Titles Registry in Queensland holds many records of intestate estates, and many wills that did not go through the Supreme Court.  Examples:
  • The Titles Registry has a large packet of documents for a particular person (name withheld at my client's request), including seven certificates for births, deaths and marriages of various family members.

  • Indexes to Transmission of Real Estate by Death 1878-1940, from Queensland Government Gazette notices, include all names mentioned. Many property owners and claimants lived interstate or overseas. For a detailed description of the index and original records, see the book Tips for Queensland Research.

Tip 4:  Probate files may give parents' names when death certificates don't.  Example:
  • Margaret STAPLETON:  Her death certificate in Queensland, Australia, says 'born Ireland, parents names unknown'; but her probate file at Queensland State Archives reveals their names. In her will, Margaret left property to her sister Johanna in Ireland. As Johanna's surname was spelt incorrectly in the will, she had to prove that she was the person named as beneficiary. Johanna was unable to supply her birth certificate because her birth had not been registered. Instead she sent a copy of her baptism record from a parish register in England! It gave her father's name and mother's maiden name.

Tip 5:  There may be a delay, or there may be two separate probate files created many years apart.  Examples:
  • A second file was sometimes created because one of the deceased's children later applied for guardianship of younger siblings.

  • Abraham ALMAN of Melbourne, Australia, died in 1854. Twelve years later, administration of his estate was granted (in the United Kingdom) to his widow, who had since remarried and was living in Middlesex, England.

  • See Tip 10 for more examples of probate being granted decades after the death.
  • .

Tip 6:  Read before you research.  Look for published guides and search procedures, which Archives and Record Offices often put on their Web sites. If you don't understand how the records are arranged, you may fail to find a will.  Example:
  • Unlike other States, Queensland has three Supreme Court Districts (Northern, Central and Southern); and each district keeps separate records. For each of these three districts there are two series of files:

    1. Ecclesiastical files ('wills'). This series includes (1) files with a will, and (2) files without a will if the estate was administered by someone other than the Public Curator.
    2. Public Curator orders and elections (commonly but misleadingly called 'intestacies'). This series includes (1) files without a will, (2) files with a will that named the Public Curator as executor, and (3) files for deceased estates administered by the Public Curator because the will was not valid (eg, if it was unsigned).

    In other words, there are six main series whose indexes you may need to search - plus minor series such as Supreme Court (Southern District) orders to administer (inventories). For more suggestions, see my book Tips for Queensland Research.

Tip 7:  If you don't find it, repeat the search.  Make a note of searches with negative results, and try again later.  Examples:  If you used the old version of the index to Queensland wills up to 1900, you would not have found these entries. The new version corrected hundreds of indexing errors including these:
  • 'John SMITH, late of Brisbane' was indexed as 'LATE, John Smith'
  • 'Michael KELLY junior' was indexed as 'JUNIOR, Michael Kelly'
  • 'August NEIDLER of Helen Street' was indexed as 'STREET, Helen' (yes, really!)

Tip 8:  A few Queensland Supreme Court probate files contain photographs.  The ones I've seen were for people 'missing, believed drowned' after the steamers Pearl and Lucinda collided in 1896.

Tip 9:  FindMyPast will soon be the largest online resource for UK wills/probate, and those records include data for people from other countries including Australia.

FindMyPast's 'wills and probate' collection includes (to name just a few) New South Wales will books 1800-1952 and Great Western Railway Shareholders index (see 6 Genealogy Sources You May Have Overlooked); an index to Queensland intestacies and wills 1859-1900 from Government Gazette notices; Bank of England wills extracts 1717-1845; British India Office wills and probate; London probate index; Suffolk testator index 1847-1857; index to Death Duty Registers 1796-1903; index of Irish wills 1484-1858. More material will soon be added to FindMyPast's wills and probate collection (http://bit.ly/2ALLwills), which includes the National Wills Index from Origins.net for pre-1857 probate material for England and Wales. To narrow your search, click 'Browse record set', scroll down ('see more') and select the one(s) you want.

Tip 10:  Ancestry has indexes or images for many series of wills, administrations, probate records, death duty registers etc, with details for thousands of people from all over the world.  Examples (I'm only quoting selected details) from the National Probate Calendar (index of wills and administrations, England and Wales 1858-1966):
  • George AMBLER of Richmond, Melbourne, Australia, died 10 Jun 1864. Administration granted 13 years later to his widow in Wales.

  • Elma BERG of Chillagoe, North Queensland, Australia, died 15 Dec 1902.

  • Joseph MOUNTAIN of London died 30 May 1834 at Hammersmith, Middlesex. Next of kin was his son John MOUNTAIN living (in 1883) in the USA.

  • Harry White SMITH, otherwise known as Harry WHITE, formerly of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, but late a Corporal in the 94th Regiment of Foot, died 5 Dec 1879 at Fort Albert Edward, South Africa.

  • Richard SMITH late of Amoy, China, merchant, bachelor, died 26 Jan 1857 at Amoy. Administration was granted to his father in 1880 (23 years after Richard died).

Do you have any personal tips about wills, intestacies and probate records?
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11 March 2014

More NSW and South Australian records online

Image by Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
These seven record sets have been added to FindMyPast's Australian and New Zealand collection:

  • New South Wales, Junior and Senior public examinations 1867-1916

  • British Garrison deserters in South Australia

  • South Australia landowners 1835-1841

  • South Australia destitute women 1855-1860

  • South Australia cemetery inscriptions 1836-2005

  • South Australia naturalisations 1849-1903

  • South Australian ex-convicts

You will find them in the full list of Australian and New Zealand records on FindMyPast (one of my favourite sites for genealogy).

Revenue from ads goes to Kiva

30 January 2014

The British in India: an update for genealogy

2.5 million records detailing the lives of the British in India have just been added to FindMyPast's British India Collection. It includes births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, wills and probate records, civil and military pensions, East India Company cadet papers, and applications for the civil service. Index searches are free.

The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) has provided some tips for using these records on FindMyPast.

Use the records in conjunction with the book Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors by Emma Jolly. It is a superb resource for family historians with a connection to India during the centuries of British involvement with that country.

The book discusses many sources for genealogical research, including British Library India Office Records, The National Archives, records of the armed forces, civil service and railways, and religious and probate records. A concise and vivid social history of the British in India makes this book even more enjoyable.

When I was in London I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Emma Jolly. In addition to being a well-known genealogist and writer specialising in London and the British Empire, Emma is also the author of My Ancestor was a Woman at War, Tracing Your Ancestors Using the Census and Family History for Kids.

23 January 2014

Internal Migration (52 weeks of genealogical records: week 2)

Week 2 in the series '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records' is about internal migration (movement from place to place within one country). You may not realise it yet, but many of your ancestors probably did this (maybe only for a short time). In Australia it is especially important to be aware of such movement because each State and Territory has separate records for births, deaths, marriages, wills, electoral rolls etc.

Shauna Hicks recommends timelines to reveal gaps in your information, and certificates to find out about internal migration. Other sources that I use include:

  • British censuses:  To quote an example from my own family tree... George WEBSTER married Sarah GIBLETT in 1829, and various sources indicated that they lived in the Greater London area until they died in 1881. I was surprised when I discovered (from census returns) that two of their eight children were born elsewhere in England (Leeds, Yorkshire, c.1833, and Manchester, Lancashire, c.1843).

  • Hospital admission registers:  These are often better than death certificates; and they include biographical details for hundreds of people who went interstate (or overseas) during gold rushes and other mining booms. Many returned to their home State, and you may have no idea that they had moved temporarily. Some name indexes are online.

  • Wallangarra quarantine registers:  These give details of people crossing the Queensland / NSW border during the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic. The index is online.

  • Australian electoral rolls:  There are online indexes for at least two different series of 19th and 20th century rolls (and some rolls are more informative than others).

  • Strays Collection Australasia:  A 'stray' is someone who married, lived or died away from his/her place of birth. This index, compiled from many different sources, has details of thousands of interstate and international strays with a connection to Australia or New Zealand.

Examples (abbreviated, without the source citations) from the Strays Index:
  • ELLIOT Jeanie, widow of Max HEBDEN... late of Brisbane QLD, formerly of Rabaul PNG, Tenterfield NSW and Bangalow NSW...
  • GUNN Ian Morriss, late of Clontarf QLD, formerly of Uganda and South Africa...
  • JONES Gladys Ruebene (formerly HALLAM), born 1894 Texas QLD; married... Inverell NSW; died... Grafton NSW...

Tips on using the Strays Index:

NOTE (22 Jun 2014): This method currently does not work. FindMyPast says this record set should be functioning again soon.
  1. In FindMyPast's records for Australia/NZ, narrow your search results to Category='Directories and Social History', and Record set='Strays Collection Australasia'. 
  2. Enter a surname only; then click 'Search'.  In the results, ignore the event year/location. They have nothing to do with the person, and refer only to an index's publication date/place.
  3. Click on the icon beside the entry to view the document (a typed page on which the surname appears, perhaps multiple times - as shown below). 
  4. As you can see, beside the image of the page there is a section with details of the publication. Note the page number and dataset, which refer to one of several Strays Indexes published by the Queensland Family History Society. Those publications may perhaps give a better explanation of abbreviated source citations.

To find Strays Indexes for the United Kingdom (with references from census records, headstones, parish registers etc), go to GENUKI and search for the word 'strays'.

For more research tips, see my other posts in '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records':
A full list of topics in this series is on www.shaunahicks.com.au.
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15 January 2014

Military Medals (52 weeks of genealogical records: week 1)

Photo o John Mustell Webster's medals courtesy of Nick Aldham and Elaine White
John Mustell WEBSTER's medals
This post is the first in a series called '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records'. Anyone is welcome to do all or part of this blogging challenge, and each week Shauna Hicks will add a new topic to this list.

The topic for week 1, military medals, is not particularly relevant to my own family, although a few of my direct ancestors' siblings served in WWI or WWII.

I have been told (but I have not confirmed) that my second cousin twice removed, John Mustell ('Jack') WEBSTER (son of Ernest Edward WEBSTER and Alice TEAGUE) was awarded the 1914 star, British war Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal and Military Medal. (This photograph was kindly provided by Nick Aldham and Elaine White.)

Lost Medals Australia, who do a great job of returning medals to family members, sought my help in tracing the next of kin of Terence Edward Downing WEBSTER (a cousin once removed, but a stranger to me). I was able to put them in contact with a descendant of Terence's sister.

Records available on FindMyPast include:

There is a British Army Medals index at http://britisharmymedals.blogspot.com/.

For more research tips, see my other posts in the series '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records':
Topics in this series are listed on www.shaunahicks.com.au.
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4 December 2013

Getting cheaper copies of wills and certificates (Thrifty Thursday)

I frequently find information about a direct ancestor in records of his/her siblings or other relatives. Genealogists always strive to use original records, but if I cannot afford to buy certificates and wills for all family members, I look for ways to obtain cheaper copies. For specific examples, plus links to articles about 'Free Certificates', 'Postems' and '10 tips', read on!

Record offices often hold copies of wills for people who died in other States or other countries.

Example 1:  Julia WEBSTER died in 1900 at Orange NSW, and her original will went through the Supreme Court in New South Wales - but a copy of her will can be downloaded (free) from the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Why is there a copy in Victoria? The explanation is in Julia's will, where she mentions (quote) 'my interest in the estate of my late brother Malcolm John CAMPBELL, late of Newry, Gippsland, in the Colony of Victoria.'

A transcription of Julia's will is also in the New South Wales will books 1800-1952.

Julia WEBSTER, incidentally, was my great-great-grandmother. Because I wanted to see her signature, I made a point of inspecting her original will in New South Wales, not just the transcriptions available in NSW and Victoria; but thanks to the PROV's free downloads, it cost me nothing to get wills and other probate documents for Julia's sister and brothers and many people from other branches of my family tree.

PROV entry re the will of Julia Webster, Beecroft, died 1900
PROV entry re the will of Julia WEBSTER who died in NSW

Example 2: Queensland State Archives have a probate file for Ellis READ, who spent a lot of time in England but died in Mexico in 1890. Ten years later his widow applied for administration of his estate. He owned land at Burketown in Queensland, and when it was sold, a grant of probate was required so that a certificate of title could be issued. The file includes details from Ellis's death certificate from Mexico (his age, native place, occupation, wife's maiden name, father's name, mother's maiden name, and his cause of death and burial place).

Some early probate files for Queensland are available on microfilm through Church of Latter-Day Saints Family History centres - but a word of warning...

The old 'card index' listed in FamilySearch had a huge number of mistakes, so you should use the new (corrected) index 'Supreme Court, All Districts Wills 1857-1900' (four PDF files) on the Queensland State Archives Web site. Note that it covers ecclesiastical files only, and many other wills are in the Intestacies (Supreme Court Public Curator orders and elections) series. There is an explanation of this in Tips for Queensland Research.

See also:

Have you succeeded in getting cheaper copies of wills or certificates by these or other methods?

('Thrifty Thursday' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)
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